League Two preview: Bradford ready to bounce back


Two weeks ago, we opposed Bradford for their trip to Dagenham on the basis that emotions were running a little high and composure might be compromised following a positive start that had kept them alive in two cup competitions and propelled them into early League Two promotion contention.

The Daggers obliged at odds of 19/10, although the Bantams didn't go down without a fight, coming back from three goals down to narrowly lose 4-3. Meanwhile, a 1-1 draw with York last weekend has now stretched the current winless sequence to four matches.

So October's been a frustrating month for Phil Parkinson's men, yet observers will tell you that little has changed in terms of performances. Bradford are still approaching games with the same high-intensity for large periods and creating chances by the bucketful.

Nonetheless, we believe a lesson may have been learned. After three seasons languishing in the lower reaches of the basement, it's understandable that everyone around Valley Parade is eager to acknowledge the progress that's been made and what it might amount to next May, but it doesn't pay to get ahead of yourself.

With that in mind, we fancy the wheel of inconsistency that masquerades as a formbook at this level to turn back in their favour against high-flying Cheltenham on Saturday. Take some of the 11/8 about the Yorkshire club putting down a marker and getting their promotion bid back on track.

The visitors moved into the automatic promotion places with victory over AFC Wimbledon last Saturday, although we're unsure how much weight should be attached to that result. The timing of the visit to Kingsmeadow wasn't ideal given that it was Neal Ardley's first game in charge but the Dons have, by and large, been a poor side for the past 12 months.

Nonetheless, it stretched the Robins' current unbeaten league sequence to six matches and they've tasted defeat only twice in their opening 12 matches, which is an admirable response to the heartbreak of losing last season's play-off final at Wembley.

However, by our reckoning, the trip to Valley Parade represents their toughest test so far and it doesn't help their cause that both teams have had a full seven days to recuperate because Bradford needed that break more than most and we presume a disciple of sport science like Parkinson will have used the time wisely.

If the Bantams come out fresh-legged and ready to play with their usual intensity, then Cheltenham's relatively smooth fixture list up to this point might not have prepared them adequately enough to withstand the onslaught.

Betting advice...

2pts Bradford to beat Cheltenham at 11/8 (Coral)
Bantams can get their promotion bid back on track after a full week to recuperate.

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